Features

Monday Tip-Off: How Modding Has Changed

Andrew's 1997/1998 Roster for NBA Live 96

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look at how modding has changed over the years.

As of last August, the NLSC has been around for twenty years. I’ve had the privilege of running the site for fifteen of those twenty years, and suffice to say quite a few things have changed during that span. It’s been interesting to observe those changes, and of course, crucial to adapt to them. As you might expect, that’s sometimes been a challenging task. While we’ve expanded our content and commitment to covering basketball games during their development, a big part of what we do here in our community still revolves around modding. I expect that will always be the case, and as I’ve said before, we can be proud of the work we’ve done in that regard.

Of course, there have been changes to modding, too. For a start, instead of “modding” and “mods”, in years gone by we mostly used the words “patching” and “patches”. Once we started covering NBA 2K in greater depth and creating content for it, the word “modding” came to be used more frequently, either to distinguish it from NBA Live patching, or simply because the term was more common in other gaming communities. Whichever term you prefer, the changes to modding in our community extend well beyond the name for the hobby.

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The Friday Five: 5 Strange Occurrences in My NBA 2K17 MyCAREER

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five strange occurrences in my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER game.

Having played through the first season in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER and started on my second, it’s fair to say that I’ve greatly enjoyed the mode, really for the first time since NBA 2K13 if I’m to be completely honest. The story was unintrusive, I found myself back on the Denver Nuggets, and it was a lot of fun dominating the league and setting some records on route to the NBA championship. Jumping to the Chicago Bulls and turning up the difficulty level has freshened things up in my sophomore season, and although I’m not playing the mode as frequently as I was a few weeks ago, I know that I’ll eagerly pick it up again whenever the mood strikes.

The experience has been fun, and I do feel that it’s the best incarnation of MyCAREER since the implementation of the story-driven approach, but there’s definitely been some weirdness. Now, there’s an element of fantasy to all of the modes in a basketball video game, and since strange and unexpected things do happen in the real NBA, it can be tough to say what’s realistic and what isn’t. At the same time, certain events are highly unlikely, and only seem to occur in video games in the name of shaking things up. When it comes to strange occurrences in my NBA 2K17 MyCAREER, here are five that come to mind.

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Wayback Wednesday: FIBA Teams in NBA Live 08

Team USA, one of the FIBA Teams in NBA Live 08

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the FIBA teams in NBA Live 08.

Bonus teams and content are something that we arguably take for granted in basketball video games these days. Both NBA Live and NBA 2K used to feature Decade All-Star teams, and of course, 2K has boasted an impressive selection of historical teams in recent years. Euroleague teams have also been featured in NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, as well as the past few NBA 2K titles. However, the interest in bonus teams really picked up after a selection of national squads was added in NBA Live 08, along with a mode representing the FIBA World Championship (now the FIBA World Cup).

The FIBA teams were a popular choice for bonus content in a few NBA Live titles, and I’m sure that many gamers would like to see them return. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Giving NBA 2K17 Online One More Try

Post Game Stats in NBA 2K17's 2K Pro-Am

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on my recent experience playing NBA 2K17 online.

Along with my co-hosts Arcane and Kenny, I’ve mentioned in various episodes of the NLSC Podcast that I’ve recently grown weary of playing NBA 2K17 online. After really getting into 2K Pro-Am last year with NBA 2K16, and constantly playing it for the first few months after NBA 2K17 came out, our interest in and enjoyment of the mode took a sudden downturn. After some frustrating sessions of both 2K Pro-Am and MyPARK – including one where we dejectedly called it a night after only one game – we all decided to take a break from the online modes in NBA 2K17, at least for a little while, but possibly until NBA 2K18 was released.

For the next couple of weeks, we stuck to the single player modes in NBA 2K17, or indeed, played other games altogether. However, I did find myself wanting to give 2K Pro-Am at least one more try, and I’ve taken part in a couple of sessions with the guys each of the past two Fridays. There was familiar frustration, but also the same recognisable fun and enjoyment from more positive sessions in the past. As a result, I may not be finished with the online experience in NBA 2K17 just yet. For other basketball gamers who have grown tired of online play, you can probably relate to the following reflections.

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The Friday Five: 5 Times Basketball Games Predicted The Future

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five interesting coincidences where basketball games seemingly predicted the future.

With a bit of creative thinking and hindsight, it’s not too difficult to find “correct predictions” everywhere. Take Michael Jordan’s “Total D” basketball trading card from 1995, for example. Noting that the one-time Defensive Player of the Year is still generally known more for his dunks and scoring outbursts than lockdown D, the back of the card refers to him as an “Aerial Wizard”. A reference to his high flying exploits, or a prediction of his second comeback with Washington, as well as the team’s name change a year before it was even announced? I’ll let you be the judge.

If you’re thinking rationally, you’ll have correctly written off the above suggestion as nothing more than a couple of fun coincidences. As I said though, it isn’t too difficult to take those coincidences and spin a story about them eerily predicting the future. To that end, this week’s Five is all about basketball video games that predicted one thing or another…or so it would seem. And no, the inclusion of the Charlotte Bobcats in NBA Live 2004 doesn’t count; they’d already been unveiled, and we all knew they would be making their debut the following season.

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Wayback Wednesday: Hidden Content in NBA Live 2004

Pau Gasol playing for Spain in NBA Live 2004

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at some hidden content in NBA Live 2004.

Dummied out content and unused assets are hardly uncommon in all genres of video games. It usually takes the form of levels, animations, gameplay functions, and other features that were scrapped due to time constraints, dissatisfaction, or a myriad of other reasons. While such content can often be restored or otherwise put to use by modders, it’s not unusual for it to be in a mostly unfinished state. I’ve covered an example of this in a previous Wayback Wednesday article, specifically the hidden historical teams in NBA Live 08. Only the player data remained in players.dbf, and even then it was clear that it was a rough draft of a feature that was axed early on.

While I was working on an update for my 1996 season mod for NBA Live 2004, I was reminded that it was game that had a fair amount of usable hidden content. There are some interesting Easter eggs among that data, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The Basketball Gaming Grind

Playing basketball on MyCOURT in NBA 2K17

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on how basketball gaming can be a bit of a grind.

As much as we enjoy basketball gaming around these parts, I don’t think many of us would argue that it isn’t a grind at times. Whether it’s playing through a full NBA season, building a collection of quality cards in the team building modes, or turning our avatars into superstars, it’s a lengthy process. This is especially true if you’re playing with full length quarters. The obvious solution is to set shorter quarter lengths, and make use of the simulation function in modes where it’s available, but for various reasons, those options aren’t always desirable. Even if you do streamline the experience, the chances of burnout are high.

That’s because we pack so much basketball gaming into a single year, in order to get the most out of a title before the next one is released. With other genres of video games, you can generally take your time, and discover the replay value at your leisure. Most games can easily be finished in a much shorter time than it takes to complete one full season playing on twelve minute quarters. Even if you do feel as though you’ve had a full and satisfactory experience with a basketball game, within a year you’ll be starting from scratch and having to do it all over again. The question is: what changes could be made so that basketball games feel like less of a grind?

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The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Appeared in More Video Games than NBA Games

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five players who have appeared in more basketball video games than actual NBA games.

Simply getting drafted by an NBA team, or making it onto a Summer League or training camp roster, is an achievement in and of itself. It’s further than a lot of players will make it in their basketball careers, and for those who do get that far, it’s the first step towards realising their dream of playing in the NBA. Of course, there aren’t enough roster spots available for everyone, and a lot of players will end up getting cut before the regular season begins. Some may find their way back onto an NBA roster and finally debut at a later date, while many others will not.

However, while some players never get the opportunity to suit up and play in a real NBA game, they may still see themselves make it to the big time on the virtual hardwood. The default rosters in NBA videos game must be locked at a certain cut-off date, which often results in missing players out of the box, but can also ensure that players on the bubble actually end up being included. Should such a player never make it back to the league, they’ll end up appearing in more NBA video games than real life NBA games. Here are five players who did just that, whom you may or may not remember.

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Wayback Wednesday: Path to Greatness in NBA 2K14

LeBron James in NBA 2K14's LeBron: Path to Greatness

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at LeBron: Path to Greatness in NBA 2K14.

Being a launch title, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version of NBA 2K14 was obviously the priority for Visual Concepts back in 2013. However, 2K did try to keep the prior gen version of the game relevant, by way of some new bonus content. Since adding features celebrating the cover player was in vogue, in NBA 2K14 we received LeBron: Path to Greatness, a story-driven challenge mode starring LeBron James. With two distinct storylines to follow and creative challenges along the way, it was certainly an interesting concept.

In fact, LeBron: Path to Greatness was arguably one of the most creative things that NBA 2K had done, prior to the implementation of the story-driven approach to MyCAREER on the current generation. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Year One Done in NBA 2K17’s MyCAREER

With the Larry O'Brien Trophy in NBA 2K17's MyCAREER

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with an update on my first season of MyCAREER in NBA 2K17.

Over the weekend, I finally wrapped up my first season of MyCAREER in NBA 2K17. As much as I’ve been enjoying it, I was ready for it to be over and done with, mostly because I was really looking forward to my plans for the second season and beyond. Playing through every game on twelve minute quarters, only occasionally simulating to the end as the regular season reached its final weeks, turned out to be quite a grind. The postseason freshened up the experience a bit, but I was still eager to start the next chapter.

Playing through the Western Conference Finals and NBA Finals over the course of Saturday evening and afternoon, I was able to bring my rookie campaign to a fitting conclusion, and start looking ahead to new challenges. All in all, it’s been the most positive experience I’ve had in MyCAREER since NBA 2K13, so as I begin my sophomore campaign, I thought that I’d reflect on my rookie season and first foray into virtual free agency in this year’s game.

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The Friday Five: 5 Roster Oddities in Basketball Games

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five oddities found in the rosters of various basketball games.

Whether you’re updating a basketball video game or simply playing it, the accuracy of the roster is probably going to be of great importance to you. Sometimes, that authenticity is limited or compromised by factors such as the roster cut-off date, lockouts, and a lack of licensing rights for specific players. Official roster updates have ultimately counteracted those first two issues, and unofficial updates can provide workarounds for the third. Furthermore, through consistent official updates and user customisation, questionable ratings don’t have to remain a problem for long, either.

Of course, even if certain issues can be easily resolved by official or unofficial means, basketball games have presented some unusual oddities in their default rosters over the years. Sometimes, unusual real life circumstances lead to inaccuracies, or create other interesting situations. In other cases, the game’s roster management functionality itself is cumbersome, or otherwise strange. Whatever the case may be, there have been a number of roster oddities in basketball video games over the years, and today I’m talking about what I feel are five of the most interesting and noteworthy examples.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Dream Team in NBA 2K13

Michael Jordan on the Dream Team in NBA 2K13

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the Dream Team in NBA 2K13.

There have been several interesting (and heated) debates on the subject over the years, but for my money, the greatest squad of basketball players ever assembled was the 1992 United States men’s Olympic team, better known as the Dream Team. Featuring some of the greatest players to ever play the sport, the Dream Team breezed through the tournament, putting on a show as they won each game convincingly, never once calling a timeout. Their scrimmages are the stuff of legend, and it’s no surprise that they were enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a team in 2010.

With 2012 marking the 20th Anniversary of the Dream Team’s dominant showing in Barcelona, and Visual Concepts looking to expand the amount of historical content in NBA 2K13, adding the Dream Team was a no-brainer. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Pro Stick vs. Shoot Button in NBA 2K (Part 3)

Shooting with the Pro Stick in NBA 2K17

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with another follow up to my previous commentary on the usage of the Pro Stick vs. the Shoot Button in NBA 2K.

It’s only been a few weeks since I revisited this topic, but there’s been a change in my approach, and a noticeable difference in the results. As you may recall from my previous articles, I’ve tended to stick to using the Shoot Button for jumpshots, while using the Pro Stick for dunks and layups, as well as free throw shooting and moves such as floaters. Given my long history with the NBA Live series, I’ve always felt more comfortable using the right stick for dribbling moves, and sliding my thumb across to the face buttons when it comes time to attempt a shot.

As I said though, my habits have changed over the course of the past month. After spending more time using the Pro Stick, I’ve found that I’m using it almost exclusively. Apart from the odd moment where old habits will break through, or when I trust the game to pick a contextually appropriate dunk or layup animation, I’m using the Pro Stick for almost all of my shot attempts. And you know something? Jumpshots in particular have never felt easier.

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The Friday Five: 5 Crazy Ideas for Basketball Games

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five unorthodox ideas for basketball video games.

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, when it comes to suggestions for basketball video games, there are some ideas that probably don’t need to be explored. At the very least, certain suggestions probably shouldn’t be high up on the list of priorities. For example, I don’t really see the point of Create-a-Fan, and a Referee Mode would be better suited to a professional wrestling game (and even there, I’ve found that the novelty has worn off fairly quickly). That being said, there’s no harm in throwing out some off-the-wall ideas that certainly could be fun.

It’s important that we focus on the important issues with gameplay, game modes, and functionality, and as a gaming community, I believe that we do a good job with our feedback. We have laundry lists of serious and well-thought out constructive suggestions on how the games can improve, but there’s always room to throw out some more creative ideas for extra content and features. Some of these suggestions are a little out there, but could have merit if implemented properly. In the spirit of innovation and trying something different, here are five somewhat crazy (but still reasonably practical) ideas for future basketball video games.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 99’s 1998 Rosters

1998 Rosters in NBA Live 99

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the 1998 rosters in NBA Live 99.

The 1999 NBA season isn’t considered a classic year for the league, but it’s certainly interesting and significant in its own right. It was the first season in which games were cancelled due to a lockout, and indeed, the first time it appeared as though an entire season may be lost due to a labour dispute. It was also something of a transitional season following Michael Jordan’s second retirement, with the defending champion Chicago Bulls being broken up, a lot of key players around the league moving on to new teams, and early signs of a new era beginning in the NBA.

In the midst of the turbulent offseason and prolonged labour dispute of 1998-99, EA Sports released NBA Live 99. Because of the lockout, the game couldn’t ship with the Class of 1998 rookies, but out of the box, it did actually feature updated 1998 season rosters. It’s an interesting and unusual situation, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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